Sweet Potato

The part of the conversation I caught between Lucy and the sweet potato in the (new) microwave (thank you Fr. R.B.!):

“…because you’re my dinner and I’m warming you up.”

Zoo Trip with Nana

This is Lucy’s first “official” narration.  A big part of the homeschooling method we’re looking at is telling back stories the child has heard as well as the story of what happened on a trip, during the day, etc.  We went to the zoo today with Craig’s mom today, and here’ is Lucy’s story (which required some prompting, but not too much).  Here it is!

“I’ll tell you about the zoo.  We went to the zoo.  And then we saw the animals.  And then we didn’t go see the lions.  Abnd then what did we did?  Samantha and us and you and mommy and me and Samantha and NaNa.  I didn’t want to walk.  Because my knee hurt because I got blood because I fell on th ground because I wnet on the mountain on the grass and then I got hurt.  Then I got a yellow snowball.”

And here are the pictures…

Gorilla – they were busy today.


Lounging gorilla

Posing by the orangutans.

Lucy and Samantha at the zoo

Samantha’s new friends.

Samantha's new friendb]s

Update on Dad

Here’s the email my mom sent out, it tells the story better than I would trying to explain it.  The chemo is getting harder, but otherwise things seem to be looking up.

“Just wanted you to know that Eldon had a PET scan last Friday and an Echo cardiogram Tuesday.  They both came out good.  The doctor was pleased.  The cancer has shrunk in most spots.  There are still two spots on the lungs.  Eldon will have two more treatments and another PET scan after that.  He may need only the two treatments instead of the original four more.

The doctor would not let him have his scheduled chemo treatment today because his white blood cell count was too low.  It looks like he will have these next two treatment four weeks apart instead of three weeks apart.  It is getting harder for him to recover from the treatments as the cancer is fighting harder to stay alive.  He is having trouble walking and has sores developing on his legs.  He’s not eating as much again and has lost more weight.  The farther away from the treatment date the better he eats.  Hopefully, this week he will start eating again.  His spirits are good when nothing hurts and is enjoying our cooler weather.  He is still planning on going hunting in November, which is something he is looking forward to.

Thanks for all your prayers.  You can see they are working.  Please keep the prayers going.  Thank you.”

Dad sounded good when I talked to him this evening.  If it’s only two treatments, the end is in sight, and just knowing that helps.  Please do keep praying!

Off the grid…sort of

We had an exciting weekend.  (The post is a little late because I was waiting on pictures.)  In honor of Craig’s Justice Walking theme this week, which is fasting from the artificial and feasting on the natural, we went to Barataria Preserve to “hike”.  We did the two-mile board walk through the swamp, which was really cool.  There were tons of very large spiders, lizards, small snakes, dragon flies, and we saw an owl in the top of one of the trees.  Lucy walked almost the whole way by herself, which was nice.  Samantha got to ride with Dad.

After this adventure we returned, we thought, to civilization, only to find that the power was out.  Craig called Entergy, and they said it would be back on around noon.  (This was 11 o’clock or so.)  We ate lunch, started naps, and when the power still wasn’t on at two, called again.  Now it would be on at five.  When six o’clock rolled around, we called again, and supposedly it would be back on at eight.  So we packed up the girls and went to buy a lantern. (Which we should have had in our “hurricane preparedness” kit, but that gives you and idea of how hurricane-prepared we are.  We generally go running to Baton Rouge, so lanterns and the like have never been a priority.)  We played in the lantern light until a little after nine, when the power actually did come on.  I was so thankful that this happened now, and not a month ago!  We had already had the windows open for a couple of days, and the cool(er) weather held out for us.

(Apparently the problem with the power turned out to be that some Entergy workers had hit and exploded a gas line.  That took a while to fix.)

We had to eat during all this time, so we took to lighting the gas stove with matches.  (Electric starter.  Sigh.)  Craig wanted to make something fun, so he dug a recipe for caramel rolls out of my Grandmother’s Czech cookbook.  They were good.  I had planned breakfast for dinner, and Craig wanted something new and different, so he made cornmeal mush.  We actually ended up going to CiCi’s Pizza after the lantern-buying excursion, but this morning we had fried cornmeal mush for breakfast.  And don’t knock it till you’ve tired it, it tasted like soft French toast.  Mmmm.  I will me making it again.

So today (= Sunday), before the mush, with power on but still with the A/C off (on principle), Craig and I went outside to drink coffee before the girls got up.  While we were there, I wandered to about the back corner of the yard, where we have a square-foot garden, three rose bushes, two basil plants, and a statue of the Blessed Mother surrounded by volunteer loquats.  I was pulling weeds, and Craig came to mow a path to the square and around it with his non-power mower.  We started talking about what I’d like to see there, and decided to go get some mulch to try and clean up around the roses, Mary, and the basil plants.  Since it was St. Francis’s feast day, it seemed like a good time to tackle this.

Load up girls, go to Lowe’s, put down mulch in the rain, and listen to Lucy sing “Row, row, row your boat” over and over and over.

Once the weeds were curtailed and the mulch was down, Craig started to worry that the grass would invade the newly-cleaned areas very quickly if we didn’t put down some kind of border.  I described to him what I wanted in the way of paths and such back there, and after lunch we headed back to Lowe’s.  Then he put out the stones while I tried, unsuccessfully, to get the girls to nap.  More “Row, row, row your boat” followed.

And, finally, here is the (partly) finished product.

Square foot garden, soon to be planted with lettuce and carrots and spinach.  (Done, by the time I got around to posting this!)veggie garden

Seating area, with fire pit (Craig’s idea) in the middle.

fire pit

Lucy’s square?

Lucy's square

Rose bushes.  (Very hard to see because they’re scrawny and not blooming, but there are three of them there.  I promise.)

Rose bushes

Mary and basil.  (The basil are also very, very hard to see.  One took a hit from the lawn mower, and is very short, but recovering.  The other was picked and snailed nearly to death.  Its fate is yet to be decided.)

Mary and Basil

The point of all this being, I’m feeling like, at least for fall and spring, it wouldn’t be so bad to live off the grid after all.  Of course, then you wouldn’t get to hear about our gardening adventures.  I guess we’ll have to keep the power…for now at least.

Spiritual Birthing

There is an amazing article in this week’s America magazine.  (The Oct. 5, 2009 issue.)  It’s called “A Fiery Gift: A spiritual case for natural childbirth.”  Susan Windley-Daoust has a deeper perspective on the issue, one I hadn’t considered, and I think everyone (female, or otherwise, and likely to give birth sometime soon or otherwise!) ought to read this.  I think she is absolutely right-on.

The gist, if you don’t care to read it for yourself, is that the process of birth, if left relatively un-tampered with, is a powerful parallel experience to some parts of the journey through prayer to God.  In fact, she worries about the effect missing out on a “natural” birth may be having on the spiritual lives of the women of this country: “But when an overwhelming majority of women in the United States have unnecessarily scheduled or medically augumented births, we must ask: Do we lose a window to God?  A window to the interior life?  When the Holy Spirit initiates a spiritual birth to something greater within us, will any of us be able to say, ‘I’ve been here before?'”

Go to your library, or do what you have to, but read this article.  It makes me want to stop the pregnant women I see every time we go to the zoo (there are always a ton of pregnant women at the zoo!)  and ask if they have considered (really, carefully considered, with the benefit of good information) how they are going to bring their babies into the world.  I am convinced that childbirth is transformative.  I am convinced that God designed it to be that way.  Not easy.  Most things worth doing are at least a little hard.  But transformative, in part in preparation for the challenges the next many years of child rearing bring.  Perhaps, if Susan Windley-Daoust is right (and I think she is), in preparation especially for the spiritual challenges these little ones bring us.  I think she asks a very important question:  What are we, as a community of women, as a church of women, missing?

Growing UP

Lucy is growing up too fast.  Samantha is not far behind.  I have not been looking to their changes, I like them little, but I’m trying to accept that God’s plan for them (I hope!) is that they grow up and help to bring about His kingdom.  And I got a little encouragement here.  With two girls, I can already relate to this, even though they’re so small.  You should read it.  And if you wonder why I link to Elizabeth Foss’s work so much, it’s partly because she is about the only one of my blog list I get around to reading any more, forget writing anything of my own!